Turner Entertainment has just released Watch TNT and Watch TBS apps for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. As is usually the case with apps from cable networks, both of these new additions do require activation with a participating cable provider. Since these two networks are owned by the same company, the apps are pretty much identical, apart from their content of course. Thankfully though, these are some of the nicest and full featured network station apps that I’ve seen.
The home screen of both apps features highlighted content found within the app. Both TV shows and movies are highlighted. Right off the bat, you’ll find large “sign in to watch” buttons in place of most “watch” buttons. Activating the apps is straightforward and involves entering a device code at tntdrama.com/activate or tbs.com/activate, and logging in with your cable subscription credentials. Interestingly though, activating one app will automatically activate the other app. In the few minutes I spent with each app, I did not come across a full length episode or movie that did not require activating the app to watch.
The Shows section of the apps is where you’ll find the majority of the available content. Each available show features large artwork along with exactly how many episodes of each show is currently available to watch through the app.
Browsing the available episodes of a show is a pleasant experience. Instead of selecting a show to see the episodes, you simply press down to dig deeper into the content. By not having to constantly jump in and out of different screens, it means you hardly ever have to use the back button on the remote and you can quickly browse through the app and its content. Another great aspect of the app is the clear display of exactly when each episode expires, so you know how long you have before the episode is no longer available through the app. This is a feature that is unfortunately rarely found in streaming media apps.
The movies section of each app is fairly sparse compared to the shows section, but there are a decent number of titles available. Movies are listed in a single row, without any way to filter by genre or other metrics, but the selection is so slim that you really don’t need it. Expiration dates are also listed for movies, along with the title’s length and description.
The Extras section of each app is where you’ll find the majority, if not all of, the free content that does not require activating the app. It mostly consists of trailers, interviews, and behind the scene showcases. You’ll occasionally find actual shows in the extras section, but when you do, they’re usually just short 2 to 3 minute clips.
Thankfully, both apps include a live stream of what is currently airing on the cable channel, so you don’t have to wait for a show to become available on-demand if you’re available to watch it when it first airs live. These apps take their live stream a bit further than most network apps of this sort by providing access to both the east coast and west coast live stream.
Network television apps often feel like afterthoughts and don’t seem to receive enough attention. The growing movement towards streaming TV instead of watching through cable boxes is starting to get the attention of big networks and it shows in these two new apps from Turner. It’s a pleasure to navigate through these apps and the information needed, like expiration dates, is present and easy to find. It’s too bad there is no a-la-carte subscription option with these apps, like we’re starting to see with other networks.